I ate at a restaurant for lunch with fellow colleagues yesterday. A restaurant that I expected a lot from and a place that prides itself on its long time tradition of serving customers delicious Italian cuisine. So I expected to eat a really fantastic meal regardless of my dietary restrictions.
I arrived at the restaurant (which you’ll notice I’ll refrain from mentioning its name) with a growling stomach and a blood sugar level of -45. I was starving and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of Italian food I could eat. The appetizer course was fantastic and with caesar salad, fried mozzarella patties and bruschetta as the choices, I went for the bruschetta. It was a traditional tomato bruschetta on toasted bread, so it was nothing too different but still good. I blew up on bread as I usually end up doing and couldn’t wait to see what was being prepared for me for the main course.
Mind you I made sure to tell everyone ahead of time of my dietary restrictions and when they came out with plates filled with oozy, cheesey, meaty lasagna, spaghetti and chicken parm that looked very tasty but very heavy, I was anticipating the creation they were preparing for me to eat!
After waiting a decent amount of time for it to come out, my plate made its way in front of me and there it was! I was staring down at a plate of….greens. All greens. Veggies. Steamed spinach. Grilled zucchini. Asparagus. Broccoli rabe florets. Steamed/grilled topped with salt and pepper. Really? All veggies on a platter? Nothing else- no pasta primavera or fried eggplant or anything? After sharing laughs and shocked looks with fellow table members, I started to eat the veggies and thought to myself: this is all they could come up with? Get me back in that kitchen and I’ll whip myself up some amazing veg Italian food. I realized that just because it’s an Italian restaurant and just because I have dietary restrictions that they thought that’s all I could and wanted to eat. NO! It’s not. Actually, being La Vegetariana, I think I know a bit more about this kind of stuff, so I asked for pasta pomodoro- just plain pasta with tomato sauce to help give the food some substance because I was hungry!
Well, the pasta came out and I made my own pasta primavera in my platter dish and asked for some olive oil to add to the dish and make it more of an Italian veg dish that I would cook (even though it was nothing close to it). The way I adore food and appreciate the quality of the food being served, I had to make it work- plus I burned off a few extra calories through all the hard work I put into it . So I ate my food and was satisfied enough to get me through to dinner.
Lesson learned- the next time I go to an Italian restaurant I’m going to either be really specific with I would like to eat or request to go in the back in the kitchen and cook up my own La Vegetariana signature dish!
**Not to say I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the greens and veggies that were in front of me because they were delicious and healthy, which I completely adored, but it just wasn’t fancy enough and I knew there was a better way to serve a veg and it just wasn’t happening for me!